“When Guinevere Beck strides into the bookshop where Joe works, he is instantly smitten.
And so beings an attraction that quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences”
Let me start off with the word “smitten”.
Smitten sounds like a word used in a romance novel, but I suppose to Joe Goldberg this is a romance. This is his Love Story, and nothing will get in the way of their future together, not even Guinevere Beck.
I know that some people had issues with this book. Whether it be the because the book is written in second person, because it is explicit at times or because of it’s slightly dramatic overtones, or perhaps a mixture of all three.
For me, this book was addictive. I was hooked from the first page, all that slowed me down was work and my newly implemented writing goals.
The second person perspective didn’t halt me at all. It was entirely new and I was totally enthralled. ‘You’ is explicit, there is no denying this fact however, it’s told from the perspective of the stalker. If anything it gave the character that extra layer of believability – the characterisation in itself was on point. Interestingly enough, I’m not sure there is one likeable character in this book, but that doesn’t matter because you’re so wrapped up in Joe and his view of them and of the world.
Sometimes the stalker will come out with something that has you nodding your head in agreement, and then he turns around and does something so abhorrent you have to remind yourself who you’re dealing with here. Because this isn’t a romance.
There are stories where the main character is stalked by a love interest, but when they find out they think it romantic and forgive any wrongdoing. What I loved about this book is that it shows just how dangerous the mindset of a stalker is to the object of their obsession, and those around them.
We see Joe start with infatuation and then devolve overtime. We see him shift blame to those around him, around Beck. They should be together, they both know they should be together and so he must eliminate those who stand in the way of their future together. Its only logical, right?
Of course, to us that isn’t right. But this isn’t the logic of someone like us, this is the logic of a stalker.
There were a couple of things which weren’t to my liking. For example I felt the word ‘and’ was overused at times. I understand that his thoughts had to flow, layer upon layer like an onion or a flower. However, there were moments it felt as if the word didn’t need to be there at all. I suppose it added to the suspense and anticipation in some ways, but when I noticed it I didn’t not notice it.
It also amazed me how everyone loved this woman. As I’ve said, there was no real likeable character in this book and Guinevere Beck is no exception. Yes, she fell prey to Joe Goldberg however, she was also a liar, she was manipulative and extremely fickle. You could say that because she was in therapy she clearly wanted help and wanted to change her ways however, she never changed.
On another note, why does no one in this book know how to set a password to their phones or computers? In my own life I don’t know one person who doesn’t password protect everything (if only to stop our friends from accessing our social media accounts).
Even still, those few ‘flaws’ (although probably only stood out to me) took nothing away from the story. It was brilliantly told and really makes you think about the world in which we live.
Sure, Joe was smitten but Beck was too (somewhat). Joe was charming, he listened and he showed her he cared time and time again. The phrasing he used, that he wold be there for “Every time” rather than any time, and that wasn’t a lie. Whenever she would phone, text or email, whether they’d been talking for days or randomly after a few months of no correspondence, he was there. Every time.
Of course, just because they weren’t conversing that didn’t mean he didn’t know what was happening in her life. He is a stalker after all.
You can probably guess how a book like this ends, but don’t dismiss it right off the bat because it’s far from predictable overall. It was clever and enticing and I highly recommend.